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Taps may open at private club in Leucadia

The private Leucadia Club should be allowed to sell alcohol now that it is seeking a much more restrictive liquor license that means it can’t serve drinks to the general public, the Encinitas Planning Commission decided on Aug. 18.

“That’s really important, that we have found a good compromise that ensures residential peace and quiet while allowing this organization to grow and bloom and hopefully bring lots of successful entrepreneurs to our community,” said Encinitas Planning Commissioner Tasha Boerner Horvath.

The club, which bills itself as a place where career-minded individuals can gather to network and brainstorm ideas, initially sought a Type 42 liquor license with the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. That license would have allowed it to serve alcohol to any adults who came in the door.

When club members sought the accompanying city permits in early June, they said they had no intention of serving alcohol to the general public, but wanted the Type 42 license because it was less costly and easier to obtain.

Their proposal didn’t go over well with the planning commissioners, who said that once the club — next to Pandora’s Pizza near the southeast corner of Leucadia Boulevard and North Coast Highway 101 — had its liquor license, it could morph into a bar. That area already has many alcohol-serving establishments and a high number of alcohol-related crimes, they said.

Commissioners decided to postpone their decision on the permits and directed the Leucadia Club to revise its state application and seek a more restrictive ABC license. Club members started that process later that month.

At the Aug. 18 meeting, commissioners said they were pleased with the club’s new application for a Type 57 license, which allows organizations to sell alcohol to members and guests for on-site consumption only.

Neighboring homeowners — who don’t want any alcohol served at the site — were decidedly not pleased.

Tim Calver, whose home is accessed by an alley behind the club, told commissioners that if the club’s request is granted by the state, he will end up with three alcohol-serving establishments within less than 100 feet of his home.

“There’s concern that this project could be a public nuisance,” he said, adding that he didn’t think a “divisive and elitist” organization ought to receive a liquor license.

If club members want a beer, they should simply go next door to Pandora’s Pizza, he said.

Club members responded that they wanted a quiet, kid-free place to discuss business, particularly biotech issues. Club representative Craig Leslie told the commission that the Leucadia Club doesn’t have much of an impact on the neighborhood now and won’t even with the addition of alcohol. They’re limited by their city permits and can only have 20 people in the building at any one time, he noted.

Commissioners added several new conditions to the club’s permits on Aug. 18. They mandated that deliveries had to occur out front on Coast Highway, rather than in the alley and they clarified that “guests” of the club had to be affiliated with club members and not be random people invited in off the street.

— Barbara Henry is a writer for The San Diego-Union Tribune


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